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The Cost of Sliding Windows And Why They Are So Popular

Sliding windows - which can cost from $120 a window - represent excellent value for money and are perfect where there are hard to reach areas that are not suitable for a traditional hung casement window or a location near a street or passageway where a window which opens flush to the wall will not restrict outside access.

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What are sliding windows?

When people think of sliding windows, they often imagine what are in reality sliding glass patio doors. The fact is that sliding windows come in all shapes and sizes and have multiple uses around the home. Sliding windows represent excellent value for money and are perfect where there are hard to reach areas that are not suitable for a traditional hung casement window or a location near a street or passageway where a window which opens flush to the wall will not restrict outside access.

The cost of sliding windows

Here are some costs for comparison purposes based on three types of sliding window, basic, mid-range and premium with a handy costing per square foot at the bottom so you can measure up at home and calculate your own guide price.

Type of Sliding Window Basic Mid-range Premium
Material Price $120 - $150 $180 - $216 $276 - $336
Installation Cost $150 - $168 $192 - $222 $240 - $270
Total $270 - $318 $372 - $438 $516 - $606
Price per square foot $2.45 $3.38 $4.67

As with many window designs, there are lots of factors which can influence the cost of your new window and these include:-

  • The size of the window
  • The choice of material for the frame
  • The type of glazing
  • The brand or manufacturer
  • The size of window installation company you choose
  • Where you live – your location can influence the cost of labor and materials even across the same city

Checkout this video which takes an expert look at sliding doors:

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How Do Sliding Windows Work?

Each window is made up of sliding panels, sometimes also called sashes, which are able to move freely up and down or from side to side. Sliding windows traditionally offer a greater area of glass and therefore unobstructed view compared to panel windows with multiple panes. They can be lifted from the frame entirely for maintenance purposes.

What are the benefits of choosing sliding windows compared to a traditional single or double hung casement?

  • Simple design – sliding windows are beautifully simple in terms of their construction and design. Compare them to the complicated mechanism of sash windows with springs and pulleys or simple hung casement windows that rely on hinges which can stick and often require maintenance to stay smooth and noise-free
  • Economical price point – because sliding windows have fewer moving parts and window furniture than a traditional casement window, on a small scale they can prove to be a remarkably economic option
  • Easy to operate – a side sliding window is surprisingly light and simple to open, not requiring much strength even with large windows. No leaning is required to open the window which makes them a good choice for areas behind deep sills or kitchen counters which need a long reach to open a casement window to a decent degree
  • A good match for wide openings – sliding windows are easy to manufacture in large panels for extra wide openings or glass walls
  • Added light – sliding windows maximize light and can make a small, gloomy room appear lighter and more spacious
  • Maximize the view – sliding windows are a great choice if you have a good view and if you choose floor to ceiling windows or doors then you can also access the garden

The disadvantages of sliding windows

The main drawback with sliding windows of any size is that the window cannot be opened completely; this is because the glass panels slide on top of each other so there is almost always some element of glass present in the space. Compare this to casement windows which can be fully opened for maximum light and airflow.

Sliding windows also do not incorporate a compressible seal which is found on almost every casement window to provide a tight seal with the window against the frame when it is closed. This limits the ingress of cold air and the loss of heat from the home.

This feature is impossible on a sliding window as it needs to move freely so often, sliding windows have a lower energy efficiency rating than a traditional casement window. Sliding windows use flexible brush-style seals and you can sometimes feel a draught coming through these in the winter.

Depending on how easy it is to remove sliding windows from the frame, some styles can prove difficult to clean.

Replacement sliding window checklist

  • Always get a minimum of three quotes. Find companies online, ask for a personal recommendation or use a trader platform like which can provide free no-obligation quotes from window fitters in your area
  • Prices will vary and you may be quite surprised at how much. Don’t assume that the cheapest is the poorest quality job and the most expensive quote the best
  • Make sure there are no hidden costs in the quote that you accept, for example, third party charges like scaffolding hire for the first-floor windows or disposal costs for your old windows
  • Always add 10% onto the quote you accept to provide a buffer for unforeseen hitches and problems
  • Check out that your preferred window contractor has the correct licenses and insurance in place
  • Ask how long it will take them to do the work
  • Establish what level or warranty is offered for the workmanship and what guarantees are provided by the manufacturer of the frames and glazing
  • Find out whether they can offer personal recommendations or testimonials from previous customers that you can check in with

How to lower the cost of sliding windows

Spring and summer are the popular times of year to change windows so if you plan to do your work in the fall or the winter then you should be able to negotiate a more competitive rate.

If your windows come in over budget, then discuss with your contractor how much impact a change of glazing and/or frame will make on the cost.

Look around for window grants – your contractor might be able to suggest some, they are usually pretty on point with what’s on offer as any free money to put in the pot is always welcome and is a good sales incentive.

Window grants can be available at federal, state and local level. Look online as your contractor may not know everything that’s out there.

Window grants tend to be aimed at energy efficient windows as the incentive is to reduce carbon emissions from domestic homes with better thermally regulated glass. Some grants are also aimed at householders who would otherwise struggle to afford replacement windows such as low-income families and retired people.

Window grants won’t cover the whole cost of all your windows, but it could represent a decent contribution. Some schemes pay in arrears so you will need to front all the money and show proof of payment before you can receive the funds.

Always read the small print and terms and conditions as some schemes restrict when you can sell the house for a specified period so you may find that you have to pay the money back if you intend to put your house straight on the market.

 Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean a sliding window?

Most sliding windows can be lifted out of the frame so they can be fully cleaned, not possible when they are in situ as there will always be a section of the glass that you cannot access. Ask your window installer to show you how to do this when the windows are fitted. Once you have lifted the window clear of the frame, always lay it flat to wash it. Propping up the window might make cleaning simpler, but it is very easy for the glasl to slip and shatter.

What if the slide on my windows isn’t smooth anymore?

There could be some dirt or tiny obstruction in the window track which can easily be cleared either by moving the window out of the way or lifting it out of the frame if it is really jammed.

Can you get sliding windows with uPVC frames?

Sliding windows are available with uPVC frames.

Can you get double glazed sliding windows?

Sliding window units are available with double glazing.

Where is the best location to put a sliding window?

You can fit a sliding window anywhere but there are specific locations where sliding windows really do come into their own and these are rooms which face onto walkways, porches, decks or patios as the window does not intrude into the space. A sliding full length window is also a great choice for a bedroom with a balcony as it keeps the area of the balcony free and also doesn’t intrude into the bedroom space like French windows.